Yes, sometimes soft focus is a good thing. When you want to capture the ethereal whispery fear and excitement of a fairy headed out for her first big fairy sleepover, soft light and blurry edges covey an important nonverbal truth. And they look cool too.
I put one important caveat on our unschooling label. My children must read well. The fact that Ry isn't a natural reader (oh, so much like her mother) has been a huge challenge to both of us. I can look anyone in the eye and talk at great length about elementary school, what is important, what is not, and why we unschool. Except reading. Personally, I need my children to read and I have pushed it. I don't care about conflicting with unschooling philosophy.
Ry rejects phonics. She is a sight reader. She doesn't decode, she takes things in whole. And this applies to her world view as well. She (like her mother, aunts, and grandmother) has a spooky intuition that works in encompassing flashes of understanding that have little regard for details and the convenience of logic. This is a tedious and mysterious way to live. And it is not conducive to traditional rote learning. But we are wired this way and I insist we learn to read, never the less.
So for years, she and I have been sitting together with Dick and Jane and patiently calling out every word. SEE see DICK dick AND and JANE jane. For years, we have done this. We have done other things as well. But this one task has been most important. It did give her the words yet left her feeling dependent on me. If she won't decode, every new word requires Mom's help. Not a very secure approach, so she was stuck. And when I called for professional help I said, "I'm sorry to say this on many different levels, but I believe one part of her brain already knows how to read fairly fluently and is in conflict with another part of her brain, which is afraid and is holding her down." I thought sounded like a lunatic, yet I was understood right away.
I was told that many children are plagued with perfectionism. (I thought that was a grown up scourge.) It was explained to me that in attempting to read, children often encounter their very first Wrong Answer. Even if the wrong answer is treated respectfully and with great love, it is still wrong. This stops many children and it stopped Ry. She needed to break through her shame and find some confidence in her own style and power.
I was considering a tutor. Then Ry realised we were almost at the end. And that was what she needed. She needed to finish a big heavy book, a book that seemed to count. Suddenly she became like a horse for the wire. She began to read faster, requesting "another chapter, another trade, Mom?" five times the last day.
She found her confidence. Suddenly then the words have taken focus in her mind. They are sharper and ready for her. They leap up, known friends to greet. She is on her way, shedding her shame and finding her confidence as she goes. Suddenly willing to look more closely at new words, feeling less threatened, she will even decode. Tr u st. Trust? Is that right, Mom?
Yes, trust yourself Dear. You know more than you think.